The revered Nelson Mandela who led his country to democracy, spent 27 years in prison and became its first black president has died at the age of 95 on late Thursday, South African President Jacob Zuma announced. "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father," said Zuma.
Two of Mandela’s granddaughters, close family friend, Bantu Holomisa and military personnel responsible for watching over Mandela were among those seen entering the Johannesburg home in Houghton. Mandela has battled serious health issues and numerous hospitalizations in the past months, including a lung infection.
Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the international community. Mandela made his last public appearance during the 2010 World Cup hosted by his home nation, South Africa.
Mandela was a father figure and global ambassador. His humble character corresponded to South Africa's young democracy and its leaders pursuing the nation's best interests.
Mandela completed a bachelor's degree through correspondence courses and studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, but left without graduating and helped form the youth league of the African National Congress. Dissatisfied with the old-guard politics, he transformed the organization into a more radical movement. Mandela became the first black South African President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
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